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84 / 100 based on 8 expert reviews

  • 85 / 100 |

    361 Degrees Spire 4 - Is it really ultimate comfort?

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    I’ve been looking forward to testing this shoe. This definitely isn’t the first shoe by 361 Degrees that I’ve tested, and I actually tested the previous model, the Spire 3 last year, and I really like that shoe.

    I was pleasantly surprised by its comfort, so when I learned that the goal for the Spire 4 was to deliver more comfort, ultimate comfort, I had to try it. 

     

     

    I’m on the everlasting hunt for the perfect marathon shoe, and I had classified the Spire 3 as a possible marathon shoe, so would the Spire 4 actually become my marathon shoe?

    Specs

    The Spire 4 weighs 232 grams in the women’s model and has a heel stack of 25 mm and a 16 mm forefoot stack, which gives it a 9 mm drop.

    No wonder the Spire 4 clearly feels more plush compared to the Spire 3, because the Spire 3 had a 12 mm forefoot stack and a 21 mm heel stack, so that’s a 4 mm difference.

    The drop has stayed the same. But surprisingly, the Spire 4 is 10 grams lighter than the Spire 3, despite the added stack height. 

     

    Upper

    I’m surprised to see that there isn’t much padding in the tongue of the Spire 4, while there is more padding in the tongue of the Meraki 3.

    I would have expected it the other way round since the Meraki 3 is marketed as a fast shoe, while the slogan for the Spire 4 is ultimate comfort. 

     

     

    There is more padding in the heel compared to the previous version, which I don’t mind since I like a good lockdown of my heel. I like the reflective details on the back that actually spell out Spire. It’s a nice little detail. 

     

     

    The Spire 4 now has the Morphit lacing system, just like the Meraki 3 and the Strata 3.

    However, the system in the Strata 3 seems to be an earlier version where bands run across the tongue from one side to the other, rather than the bands running down the medial and lateral side of the foot and providing some stability. 

    And 20% of the insole is made of recycled materials. That’s nice, but this only seems to apply to the insole. It would be nice if they could make part of the shoe of recycled materials as well. 

    For some reason, the laces are really long. I think they are longer than in any other running shoe I’ve had. But obviously, that’s easy to fix by just switching out the laces if it really bothers you. 

     

    Midsole

    The midsole is a dual-layer midsole. There is the QU!KFOAM layer and the new EVA midsole material named QU!KSPRING+.

    The QU!KFOAM was already part of the Spire 3, but the QU!KSPRING+ is new to the 4th edition of this shoe and is supposed to give the shoe more cushion and more responsiveness.

     

     

    They also seem to have kept the carbon fibre plate that they call the Qu!k Spine. This is to provide stability, but it doesn’t work in the same way as other carbon fibre plates to help push you forward.

    Outsole

    The outsole has remained the same compared to the previous version. The outsole is made out of blown rubber in the forefoot and carbon rubber in the heel. It does provide the right amount of traction on roads, and the shoe does alright on easy trails. 

     

    Fit

    The upper of the Spire 4 seems to be a bit roomier than that of the Meraki 3. The Spire 4 promised to have a roomier vamp.

    I like enough space in the toe box, but this is a little too much fabric. It loses its support and starts to fold over when I try to lace it tighter. 

     

     

    I have my regular running shoe size in both the Spire 4 and the Meraki 3, and they clearly have a different fit. They are the right length for me and the Meraki 3 also provides enough support with the more tightly knit upper and the additional padding in the tongue.

    The upper of the Spire 4 doesn’t feel as secure, and there is definitely extra fabric. I’m not sure going down half a size would have been an option, maybe, or maybe that would have left me with too little space in the front. 

     

    Conclusion

    Compared to the Spire 3, it is definitely a more plush feeling. Even just walking around it, it feels softer. I do find the midsole to be very comfortable.

    The problem is the upper. The knit is too loose, and therefore the upper does not provide enough support and even starts to lose its shape on the medial side. I

    t ruins the experience a little, and although the midsole is very comfortable, because of the upper, I’m not so sure I would classify this shoe as ultimate comfort, but it’s definitely comfortable. 

  • 81 / 100 |

    Spire 4: How many degrees are too many?

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    The Spire 4 is a new neutral, high cushioned road running shoe from the brand 361 Degrees. While the brand has yet to be established in mainstream retail, they have gained quite a following in the running community.

     

     

    While the last iteration had its share of rave reviews, how will the Spire 4 measure up? Let’s dive in.

    The look

    As soon as I opened the box, I noticed the engineered knit upper. Aesthetically, my first impression was that it reminded me of Nike’s running line, specifically the Winflo 4.

    The u-throat at the base of the tongue has a wing that kind of runs up to the first set of eyelets, and the toe-box has very similar ventilation holes to the Winflo. It’s not a bad thing at all, and I don’t necessarily think 361 Degrees was trying to mimic the design.

     

     

    When coming up with a fast looking shoe, certain design elements are going to overlap from brand to brand. The handling of the stylized “3” logo was well executed, with the support welds running back into the heel counter.

    The midsole coupling was done much like other running shoes that I’ve seen, but paradigms are there for a reason: they work. Also, the flecking of black against the microchip gray knit upper made a nice gradient that played well with the ventilation holes.

     

     

    Overall, Spire 4 is a fast looking shoe. I think there are much better colorways of the shoe available than the microchip gray-based version.

    First take

    Underfoot, there’s a lot of cushioning in the Spire 4. The transition from the heel strike to toe-off is fairly smooth. There’s a dual-density midsole, which is comprised of QuickSpring EVA and something they call QuickFoam, a hybrid EVA/PU compound.

    The QuickFoam feels a touch firmer and seems like it serves to propel the foot forward faster. The two different durometers of the foam layers make for an interesting feel, and could likely make for a longer-lasting midsole, meaning more miles.

     

     

    Regarding the upper, the knit upper initially felt comfortable. It’s not exactly a stretch-knit like other brands offer, but it feels seamless nonetheless. Their fit system in the Spire 4 is called Morphit, which appears to be designed to lock down the midfoot and cradle the heel.

    The collar padding feels great, and gillie/eyelet combination lacing system does provide a snug fit once you figure out your lacing preference. Utilizing the top back eyelet was necessary for me, as the shoe ran a touch long.

    Width-wise, the shoe felt decent. Half of a size down would have led to a narrow forefoot. There is a little bit of padding on the top of the tongue, though some prefer a thicker cushion up top.

    Performance

    Due to the engineered mesh and knit uppers, running shoes tend to have little break-in time needed before taking them on a real run. The Spire 4 was one that needed a little time to get comfortable with before going on a run with them.

    Once they were broken in, they felt like decently comfortable performers. They are on the heavier side and lacked a bit of the kick I’m used to in similarly weighted shoes like the Brooks Ghost or the Saucony Triumph.

    That being said, they seem to be a better shoe for a quicker pace if you’re a heel-striker. The weight is due to the polyurethane part of the midsole, and the rubber outsole.

    The shoe also features a carbon fiber shank plate under the mid-foot, which appears to account for the shoe’s torsional stability, rather than propulsion.

     

     

    Not that there’s a complete lack of forward-leaning engineering in the Spire 4, but as a mid-foot striker, it may have been lost on me due to my gait.

    During my runs, the upper kept my foot in place for the most part. The back collar was well padded and kept a snug fit while coupled with the Morphit lacing system, but my heel felt like it sat too low, leading to discomfort towards the end of a few of my runs.

     

     

    On dry surfaces, the traction of the Spire 4 performed well, but on damp, wet sidewalks, I did feel the need to exercise more caution. I didn’t feel comfortable taking it out on any snow-covered paths like I have other road shoes, but to be fair, the ones that I’ve run in snow are probably outliers.

    Overall

    When all is said and done, the 361 Degrees Spire 4 is a fairly well-performing shoe. Seasoned runners that are looking for something new could find their sweet spot here. The unique feel of the Spire’s multiple density midsole may be reason enough to give them a chance.

  • 85 / 100 | The Run Testers | | Level 1 expert

    All in all, I would say that the Sprire 4 is a completely competent shoe for training runs, for faster pace runs, "and" even racing.

  • 88 / 100 | Get Sweat Go | | Level 3 expert

    Overall we enjoyed running in the Spire 4. It's a nice all-rounder shoe that sits more towards the faster side of the market. If you're a recreational runner looking for a neutral trainer that'll cover you for the occasional race and speedier training, it's worth a look.

Become an expert

  • The 361 Degrees Spire 4 is an update to a series of high-performance neutral running shoes that offer a high level of comfort. It incorporates the improved QU!K spring technology that provides a softer and more responsive ride. 
  • This running companion now uses the Morphit construction in the midfoot and heel section, which delivers a more comfortable and secure fit. This internal structure offers more room in the forefoot area without compromising stability. 
  • Another exciting improvement that is integrated into the shoe is the Ortholite insole. This component offers better moisture management and breathability.

Several components affect the fit of the shoe. This includes the stretchable upper that conforms to the natural shape of the foot, providing a sock-like fit. The shoelaces are also used for a snug and personalized in-shoe feel. 

Other elements that influence the fit of the shoe are the internal structure that offers a secure fit and the tongue that gives added comfort. 

The QU!K Flex 4foot engineering is used in the outsole for enhanced ground contact. It provides great traction and acceleration. 

For a natural and balanced toe-off, the flex grooves are strategically positioned to imitate the motion of the foot.

QU!K Spine is also included in the shoe for smooth transitions. QU!K Spine technology is a carbon fiber plate, which acts as stabilizing force during midstance as the foot prepares for propulsion. This durable material maintains the integrity of the midsole to delay breakdown. 

The 361 Degrees Spire 4 features QU!K Spring technology. It is a new version of ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) foam, which is slightly softer and more responsive compared to the regular EVA foams. This material is proven to maintain the same level of comfort and energy return throughout the life of the shoe. 

On top of the QU!K Spring midsole is the Ortholite insole. 361 Degrees worked with Ortholite to create an improved insole that raises the comfort level. The new Ortholite insole is made out of 30% recycled materials. It offers added breathability and better moisture management to prevent unwanted odor. The Ortholite sockliner is also featured in the Asics Gel Contend 5

The 4th edition of the 361 Degrees Spire still uses the seamless ergonomic construction for a comfortable in-shoe feel. The breathable knitted upper is constructed with a roomier vamp to enhance ventilation. The knitted fabric is a flexible material that keeps the foot dry for an extended period. The shoe also incorporates a soft lining that protects the foot from irritation. 

For a supportive fit, the shoe utilizes an internal structure called Morphit. This structure delivers a secure midfoot fit to prevent unnecessary movements, keeping the foot running in comfort. It provides more room in the forefoot section without sacrificing stability. 

A pressure-free tongue is also featured in the shoe to eliminate stress on top of the foot. The tongue’s anatomical pattern and soft materials effectively reduce pressure on the ankle during dorsiflexion. 

The lace-up closure is also used to provide a snug and personalized fit. 

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com